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May 7, 2010

Posted by in Advocacies, Teacher's Corner | 0 Comments

Cheers to Second Moms!

When I first started graduate school, I did not only have the chance to learn new things that allowed me to become a better person, but I was also able to meet one of the most influential and inspirational women I have ever crossed paths with. For many psychology students of DLSU, she is known regarded as a big favorite and an excellent teacher. For me, she was (and is) more than a teacher. Through her I have learned what it really means to be happy and how to be able to be true to myself. By working with her in all the different ways we have been doing so (as a teacher, as a colleague, as a mentor and all other roles we have shared) I have really been able to equip myself with the life skills needed to be a good person. In many ways, she has changed my life.

This Mother’s Day, I am taking the time out to recognize not just my own mother, but also all the phenomenal women out there who are like second moms to me.

To my classroom moms, mentor moms and most specially to online moms (a.k.a. editors, blogging gurus, and plurk supporters!), thank you for all the love, support and encouragement you have given me these past years.

Let me invite you, too, my dear readers, to say “Cheers” to your Second Moms, whoever they may be. These wonderful women, be it your lola, tita, yaya, office mentor, kindergarten teacher, deserve a big thanks on this special day. What better way to spread the love and gratitude than by giving them a special Toblerone bouquet, designed especially by Michi Calica? Be sure to log on to www.toblerone.com.ph and check out this fab contest to to discover new ways to thank those 2nd moms on Mothers’ Day.

Toblerone Bouquet by Michi Calica

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May 7, 2010

Posted by in Teacher's Corner | 1 Comment

Sprucing up my classroom

Today I spent the whole morning browsing all sorts of scrapbooking programs and clip art collections we had installed in the school computer looking for inspiration to help me spruce up my classroom walls and windows. This year we decided to have our designs digitally printed with a tarpaulin instead of the usual paint and paper that we use. The last time I decorated my classroom wall, I probably spent a whole week painstakingly cutting out art paper to glue to the walls for my cutey-patootey garden. This is what it looked like:

not the best lighting for a photo, but you get the idea :-)

Each flower petal and leaf was cut out individually. Wasn’t it cute? However, I realized that it’s not the most cost-efficient way of decorating my classroom walls, especially since the kids end up picking on it till it peels! To be fair, it lasted for 2 years so I guess it was worth the effort!

However, like I said, this year we decided to use tarpaulins for my new classroom for two reasons: it comes out more cost-effective and the classroom where I’ll be staying at this year is in the open-air section of the school. Sometimes, when it rains really hard and I forget to close the windows, the stuff gets wet! We also had leaking problems with the roof by the wall where I intend to decorate so if I used the usual paint-and-paper decors, that would be a nightmare.

I haven’t found my classroom design yet, but I think I’ve decided on a playground theme this year. I’ve done garden, city and sea in the past so for this next year, I’m excited about the play theme. Any suggestions? For the next two weeks I’ll be trying to compile photos or patterns to use for my design while the carpenters and technicians change the paint, fix the roof, install new light fixtures, a fire alarm and a door chime to replace the current one which seems to be grounded and has it’s wires sticking out. In the meantime, I will surf the web for more inspiration!

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May 6, 2010

Posted by in Teacher's Corner | 0 Comments

Remembering why I teach in the Philippines

On the way home tonight, I was listening to the radio and heard commentaries about teachers being disenfranchised in this 2010 elections. The way I understood it (pardon me, I wasn’t really listening very much because I was so exhausted!) some teachers discovered that their voters registration status was deactivated and some of them will not be able to cast their votes this year because of the new ruling of the Commission of Elections which does not allow them to vote in the precinct they are assigned in. This was quite disheartening because by doing their job, they lose their right to suffrage.

It’s sad to hear about the plight of teachers in our country. They work very hard to make a difference in the lives of the students they teach but they do not always receive the support they need from the government. This is just one example. There are so many opportunities for employment abroad but they’re still here. Teachers in the public school system also have to deal with so much politicking and red tape which can limit them from flourishing in their jobs. Another saddening fact is that while the teachers have the heart to teach, they lack resources such as classrooms and textbooks, to do so.

As for me, I still want to believe that teaching in the Philippines is a worthwhile profession.  It just gets harder and harder every year to remember why I keep holding on to teaching here when I see my counterparts succeeding financially by taking on teaching jobs in various parts of the world. Not only do they get paid better, they also have more resources within their reach. I guess one reason I still stay is because I really have been blessed by the institutions I work for, even though the compensation is much lower than if I taught in the US.

I pray that the next administration that will be elected this Monday will finally value edcation the way it should be valued. For now, I will still stay and pray hard that I can hold on to my determination to be a teacher here in the Philippines.

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May 5, 2010

Posted by in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

BC Blogging

The Accidental Teacher is jumping in the bandwagon! Wanna come?

Calling all bloggers who want to gain friends in the blogosphere and build links at the same time – BC Bloggers 3 is now open. To join just visit Mommy Diary, read the requirements, and fill out the Application Form.

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May 4, 2010

Posted by in Arts and Crafts, Tips and Tricks, Toys and Playthings | 0 Comments

Learning from scraps and household items

During the summer, it is customary in the preschool I work in to do a general cleaning where we get rid of all the old junk and make room for the new stuff that will come in for the upcoming school year. However, every year we seem to find more and more bits and pieces of scraps that we teachers can’t seem to let go off because we transform them into learning materials. We have a shelf-full of all sorts of odds and ends, from toilet paper rolls to old party hats, scraps of cloths and buttons, as well as all kinds of things you wouldn’t really think of keeping! Even old office papers find a home in our school. See that tall stack of white papers just waiting to become artworks?

Although it may look like a mess, this is a source of endless fun, adventure and learning, not just for the kids but even myself as their teacher! Teacher-made materials are excellent learning tools because you can design it to cater particular themes or needs your students have. Plus it can come out more cost-effective, especially if you teach in the Philippines where educational toys are quite expensive.

Here are some fun things my students and I have done with scraps and household items we’ve used as learning supplements in class:

Toilet Paper. I use these to measure my kids’ heights by taping to to the wall and counting how many squares tall they are. To further extend the lesson, we compare the number of each student then we put it in order from least to greatest. This teaches them sequencing, comparing greater and less than, and other math concepts

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Gumamela flowers to make bubbles or other fallen flowers and leaves for drying or incorporating to handmade paper.  To make our handmade paper, we’ve used old window screens for straining and draining the paper pulp pressed together. Sometimes the paper comes out quite thick so we end up using this to make picture frames or other crafts.

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Old water bottles are big favorites for kids! Whether its filling them up with colored water, stones or whatnot, they love shaking it around and are quite fascinated by what goes on inside the bottle! If you’re lucky, you can find those little connectors that allow you to put together two bottles to make one of these tornado bottles :-) It works best though if the water bottle is the thicker kind of PET bottles.

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Making Christmas crafts from leftover paper plates and cardboard is also a good way of harnessing a child’s creativity and fine-motor skills.

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Wondering what to do with old tires? Make them into playground swings! A word of advise though: be careful when cutting the rubber because there are a lot of steel wires on the inside. We had this done by our school carpenter and he sanded down the wires and we wrapped them up in protective sealants before painting it.

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Old egg trays or cartons can also be great ways to teach kids colors, one-to-one correspondence, matching and classification. This also helps stimulate a child’s thinking skills. For older kids, instead of using just colors, you can integrate other concepts to it. Ive also used old egg trays as 3D tic-tac-toe frames :-)

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Old newspapers and scratch papers are great for paper maché projects!

These are just a few things I’ve done (and have pictures to show of!) but there are so many other ideas to explore. One of my other favorite household trash items I love to use are toilet paper rolls!!! They’ve become musical instruments, bahay-bahayan toys and even presents made by the kids for mom and dad.

So, whenever you have trash at home, think twice about what can be done with these. Just be crafty!

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May 2, 2010

Posted by in Advocacies | 1 Comment

Rules are NOT Meant to be Broken

One of the things I most struggle with everyday is reconciling the fact that while many rules may seem irrelevant and at times, illogical, and the need to follow these rules.

My own sister often uses that as a weapon against me when we fight. She calls me a ‘goody-two-shoes’. However, while most people are okay with bending the rules, I still find it very difficult to do so. Let’s take driving rules for example. It really bothers me when people, especially motorcycles, continue to go forward even though there is a red light in front of them. For others, they rationalize that there’s no oncoming traffic anyway. I try my best to follow these rules even though it inconveniences me, but it’s hard to stick to it when every one else does not follow!

Another pet peeve of mine would be when people park by someone elses driveway. While that may not be a written rule, it is a basic social rule that should not need to be taught. Frustrating, right?!?

I think we would all live in a much better world if we all just try to follow rules a little better and remember, no matter how irrational it is, there must be a reason for it :-)

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Apr 16, 2010

Posted by in Teacher's Corner, Teaching Resources, The Library | 0 Comments

Giving books a new life

One of my favorite places to shop in are those Book Sale kiosks or stalls. I love how old books find new homes through these kinds of  stores, especially since brand new books are quite expensive. This is especially true for text books, more so when we are talking about college text books. I know that for the early grades, it’s a little more difficult to recycle text books because of the fact that there are answer sheets that have to be completed after each chapter.

My bookcase is filled with all sorts of old books. A lot of them are textbooks. From Physics to Statistics, Psychology and Biology, the list is endless. My brothers also have their share of old textbooks, and in fact, next week they will be getting a new set for the upcoming school year. There is a solution I can think of, however: Sell textbooks! By selling these old textbooks, I can free up space as well as make money out of something I am not using anymore. Perhaps, donating can also be an option.

Come to think of it, Book Sale also has a  lot of text books available at much lower prices. However, the hassle with Book Sale is the way books are organized in the shelves. It’s kind of hard to see the titles and a lot of times, you only get books by chance. I wish there was an online book center, such as the one here . By going online, it’s easier to find what you are looking for. This site actually gives you the opportunity to sell books too. For more details, check out the faq page.

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Apr 16, 2010

Posted by in Teacher's Corner | 1 Comment

Go Away, Freak and other Mixed Messages

In class one day, one of the little boys said to his classmate: “You’re such a loser!”.

I overheard him call his classmate that and I immediately called his attention on it. I asked him why he had said it and what it meant to him, and all he could tell me was that he had seen it in TV. He didn’t even really know what it meant, except that it was something you said when someone made a mistake. In this case, the classmate had dropped his snack box cover on the floor.

I explained to him how what he had done was wrong and I gave him a “sad face” mark on his hand to remind him not to do it anymore. Since then, I never heard him say it again. However, i got to thinking about how we adults give kids mixed messages when it comes to what is right and wrong. Take for example the local television show Agua Bendita. It tells the story of two young girls, born as twins but very different. One is a typical, normal looking child, while the other one takes on a water form when in dry land. Overlooking the impossibility of the concept, let me just focus on the behavior the grandmother teaches the young girl named Bendita. She teaches her granddaughter to call her sister Agua a “freak”. Granted that she is indeed freakish, I think it is a very wrong thing to teach children. Because of the show, calling others “freak” becomes an acceptable behavior. Yes, I know it is television, but I think there could have been steps taken to show that is is unacceptable and wrong. Throughout the series, I have not yet heard Bendita being reprimanded for calling her sister a freak.

Shows like this, as well as other cartoons that have characters calling each other stupid, idiot, moron, and the like with no reprimand or means of correcting these behaviors give kids mixed messages about what is right and wrong. For young children, being consistent and firm is essential in making sure they learn the right messages that will lead to better behaviors in the future.

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Apr 11, 2010

Posted by in Advocacies, Teacher's Corner | 0 Comments

Do Looks Really Matter?

Seriously, do they?

In the past few months, I have observed how television commercials and similar media have seemed to place so much more value on looks, even more than they used to. For example, I was appalled at a TV ad that featured whitening lotion for teens and pre-teens. Seriously??? In an article I had read, the author even pointed out that the ad said something about “start white, start right” (or vice versa). Bottom line, the point was to make it far, you have to have white skin. With that, I got to thinking if looks really matter.

In a perfect world, the answer should be no. However, in the world we live in, sadly often times the answer is yes. For me, I personally see how looks do affect interactions I engage in, but that doesn’t mean I approve of judging others by their looks. What I mean here is that as I have gotten older (and it is physically obvious now) I seem to be able to get more respect from my students. It’s like they see me more as an authority figure as compared to when I was still quite young. As such, I see how looks can make a difference. In this case, it was a “good” effect, but many times, people can use looks as a means for discrimination which I TOTALLY DO NOT CONDONE! Going back to my intro, for example, having darker skin should not be an issue.

I believe that more than changing the way we look through these supposed magic creams, treatments and  plastic surgery, which are big trends nowadays. More than emphasizing that we will be “better” with these,  we need to be able to highlight that we don’t need to CHANGE who we are, but to change OUR PERSPECTIVE of who we are and this can be done by taking good care of physical selves. For example, I struggle with a mild case of hirsutism, which is an off-shoot of a hormonal problem I have. As such, I have a lot of unsightly unwanted hairs on my upper lip and chin. Perhaps, taking steps to remove these hairs such as waxing, threading or the like can be helpful. Checking out a site featuring Laser Hair Removal in Los Angeles made me think also about seeking permanent hair removal treatments for my problem. The thing is, I’m not so sure how well I can tolerate that and if I can afford it for that matter.

On a personal level, at this point in my life, I can still say I will not opt for any physical treatments  such as Botox Treatment Los Angeles. I have nothing against those who want to have it done, and who knows if five, ten years down the line I’d feel the same. I guess as long as you educate yourself and read the WebMD Botox Information thoroughly, you can make a better decision for yourself.

As I’ve said,  it’s not just physical looks per se that matter, but really how we take care of ourselves.The thing is, we don’t really get to get that message across to people, especially young and impressionable individuals. So do looks really matter? Yes, they do. But this doesn’t mean you have to dislike the way you look: you just have to learn to accentuate and highlight your personal beauty strengths.

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Apr 11, 2010

Posted by in Advocacies, Teacher's Corner | 0 Comments

Rewriting Filipino Time.

I used to be a very punctual person growing up.  Now, I catch myself being late a lot. To be fair, I still am generally prompt  when it comes to meetings and appointments. However, because of the notion of Filipino Time, sometimes I find myself dilly dallying instead of getting ready as early as I would have normally used to do.

The idea that it is okay to be late because the event (be it a meeting, party or what not) doesn’t start on time anyway seems to have been so ingrained into todays society that many have lost a sense of value for time. Perhaps this attitude prevails because it has become an accepted behavior among most of us, very much like Pavlov’s classical conditioning. I suppose we also make it acceptable by our response to these kinds of behaviors.

Just this term, the university I work for introduced a program to really emphasize the importance of being on time. Every now and then, we would receive emails reminding us about how we should be in the classrooms on time, even though our students tend to come in later. I guess part of the reason why the students come late too is because they know the teachers are aware they come late so they aren’t 100% prompt 100% of the time. Plus they get away with it anyway.

This coming term, I am going to try to rewrite Filipino time, at least for myself. Perhaps by being more self-aware about my being prompt and conscientious about this, I can affect change around me, after all, this is why I’m called teacher, right?

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